(Memphis) Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was in Memphis Friday.
Sebelius, who has been at the center of the controversy of Healthcare.gov, was in town to urge people to continue to enroll if they can get access.
Secretary Sebelius was at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library with Mayor A C Wharton and Congressman Steve Cohen.
Mila Shaw was one of 200 people who filled out a paper application for health insurance at the Memphis Library Friday.
She, like most people we spoke to, had no faith in the website, so they used paper.
“Online has already had a number of issues so I decided paper would be fine,” she said.
Getting people signed up was the purpose of a four-hour event.
“It was easy because there were people in there to help navigate us through the process,” she said.
The event was boosted by the presence of Sebelius, who received a warm Memphis welcome at a rally of sorts.
Sebelius spoke for seven minutes apologizing for problems with the website and promising that in the end, the Affordable Care Act will be a win for the American people.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton told the crowd not to judge the rollout that has been riddled with technical problems.
“I don’t think for those who have waited a life time for this should take 30 days and pass judgment,” Wharton said. “We’re not ready for that are we? We have we just begun.”
Sebelius took the blame for the problems just as she did on Capitol Hill this week.
“There is nobody more frustrated than I am and I’im really sorry that people who have waited so long are frustrated.”
She admitted mistakes could have been avoided.
“Clearly we did not do enough testing. We were eager to not delay any longer the incredible journey people have waited their lives for in hindsight that balance may have been a little bit different.”
Outside the event, some called for her resignation including State Senator Bryan Kelsey who was waiting with a special gift, a website for dummies book.
“I thought I was very appropriate given her inability to run this website,” he said.
Sebelius, who was introduced by Seedco director Lisa Pote, said it will take another month to work out the kinks in the system.
The helpline, 800-318-2596, is available 24/7 and can provide assistance in 150 languages.
Enrollment Assistance Information Centers:
Community Development Council
TN Community Services Agency